Summer vacation season is nearing – and the bed bugs are waiting. Bed bugs have increased in the U.S. in last decade, and the warm summer months from July to September are when they are most active and prolific.
Here are some tips to help prevent these unwanted visitors from hitching a ride home:
- Know what you’re looking for. Bed bugs are reddish brown in color and apple seed sized. Look also for small black dot-sized droppings and blood stains, which are signs of bedbug infestation.
- Check for bedbugs in your motel or hotel room by pulling back the linens on the bed and looking all around the mattress including the seams, the box springs, and behind the headboard.
- Be sure to inspect the luggage rack (both sides) as well as upholstered furniture such as chairs and couches.
- Don’t place your suitcase or clothing on a bed, carpeting, or upholstered furniture; and don’t store clothes in a dresser. Instead place luggage on the luggage rack, table, desk, dresser top, or bath tub. Even if you don’t see evidence of bed bugs, they can travel from another room into yours.
- As an added protection, you can put your luggage in a sealed plastic bag, and place clothes when leaving in another sealed plastic bag.
- When returning home, immediate wash all your clothes in hot water or place the clothes in the dryer, setting it to high heat for 30 minutes to kill bed bugs and their eggs. (Bed bugs can’t survive in heat above 118 degrees Fahrenheit.)
- Don’t store your suitcases under your bed. Instead, vacuum them and store in the basement or garage.
- Check out your potential lodging on sites such as the Bedbug Registry to see if there have been reports of bed bugs. Although this won’t ensure that your motel or hotel room is bed bug free, it will help you keep away from lodgings that have consistent ongoing reports of bed bugs.
For even more information, check the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Bed Bug site, which has extensive information on bed bugs and a printable bed bug information card to take with you when traveling.